Grass Routes: Trade statistics indicate early positive gains in Japan import volumes

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) came into effect on December 30, 2018. The CCA has been monitoring the uptake of Canadian beef in Japan since the first scheduled tariff cut on December 30, which reduced the high Japanese beef tariff of 38.5 per cent to 27.5 per cent on Canadian fresh beef and to 26.9 per cent on frozen beef.

The CCA has now received the very first Japanese import statistics since the tariff dropped and they show early positive volume gains in imports of Canadian beef. The volume for January 2019 was 3,545 MT, more than triple the volume of December 2018 at 1,282 MT, and nearly that again compared with January 2018 at 1,007 MT. The January 2019 volume is also higher (57.6%) than the average per month shipment in 2018. Before CPTPP, Japanese importers had to carefully manage their purchases so as not to exceed safeguard triggers which would cause the tariff to increase to 50 per cent. This concern no longer exists under CPTPP. The CCA will continue to monitor the volumes over the next several months for indications of longer term trends.

On April 1, 2019 Canada will enjoy a second cut in Japan down to 26.6 per cent on both fresh and frozen and further reductions over several years that will eventually lower tariffs to nine per cent.

Canada is among the initial six CPTPP signatories of Japan, Mexico, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia, for whom the agreement came into force on Dec. 30. On January 14, 2019, Vietnam implemented the CPTPP, making it the latest member country to do so. The CCA expects the remaining four member countries to continue their own processes so that the CPTPP will be in force amongst all 11 signatories sometime in 2019.

From: Alberta Beef Grass Routes